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³Cat-4, our new nanosat, selected for ESA's Fly Your Satellite

The ³Cat-4 project has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to be a part of the 2nd 'Fly Your Satellite!' programme, offering the possibility to collaborate with ESA in the design, development, validation and launch of university CubeSats.
³Cat-4, our new nanosat, selected for ESA's Fly Your Satellite
Members of the ³Cat-4, ESA/ESTEC

Some months ago, our team begun the design of our new nano-satellite, the ³Cat-4 (read "cube-cat-four"). Based on the experience gained with the ³Cat-1 (launch date still TDB) and ³Cat-2, this new 1U CubeSat design will demonstrate the suitability of this type of platforms to perform Earth Observation with passive instruments. More specifically, the ³Cat-4 will fly a GNSS-R (Global Navigation Satellite System - Reflectometry) instrument capable of measuring several weather phenomenon, geographical characteristics and ocean parameters, by detecting and analysing the reflected signals of satellite navigation constellations (e.g. GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou). Complementing its remote sensing capabilities this nano-satellite will also embark a passive L-band radiometer implemented with a commercial SDR (Software-Defined Radio). Along with these two payloads, the ³Cat-4 also integrates an AIS detector (Automatic Identification System) allowing it to track ships in their intercontinental routes.

This satellite mission, currently in its CDR phase, was presented the first week of May 2017 in front of a European Space Agency (ESA) panel of experts who selected this and five other teams, for the second edition of the 'Fly Your Satellite!' (FYS) program. ESA's FYS, provides support and mentoring for university teams and offers a launch opportunity for nano-satellites like ours. Thus, the ³Cat-4 has its launch guaranteed from the International Space Station (ISS) on 2018-2019. This great opportunity poses new and exciting challenges for the NanoSat Lab team.

 

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